LONDON Dec 4 Britain has agreed to provide a
loan guarantee to Japan's Hitachi to help it finance a
new multi-billion pound nuclear plant in Wales.
The finance ministry on Wednesday said it would offer the
guarantee to help Hitachi finance its planned 2,600 megawatt
Wylfa nuclear power station in north Wales.
Britain has an ambitious target to replace its ageing
nuclear fleet by the middle of the next decade, and Hitachi is
one of a handful of firms ready to take on high upfront costs to
build new reactors.
The agreement, which is subject to due diligence and
ministerial approval, follows a guarantee offer earlier this
year to France's EDF for its 16 billion pound ($26.3
billion) Hinkley Point nuclear project in southern England.
"The agreement today shows that, just as we did with Hinkley
Point, this government is prepared to give certainty to
investors to help them make the financial decisions that are
critical for our nation's infrastructure," Britain's deputy
finance minister Danny Alexander told reporters on Wednesday.
Hitachi has said the plant will be based on its Advanced
Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) designs but has not provided
estimates for how much it will cost.
Alexander said the project would employ 5,000 staff during
construction and create 1,000 permanent jobs.
The government agreed in October on a minimum price, a
so-called strike price, with EDF for power generated from
Hinkley Point - the first deal by a European government that
guarantees future returns for a nuclear plant.
Hitachi's UK nuclear new build venture Horizon also
announced on Wednesday that it had signed engineering and
technical design contracts to UK firms AMEC, Atkins and
Cavendish Nuclear, without disclosing the contract sums.